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More MS news articles for March 2003

Cart-bound woman’s mobility challenged by snowy sidewalks

Wednesday, March 5, 2003
By Adrienne Lamplough

JoAnn Morton has lived on South Street for 36 years, but this is the first time the weather has put a damper on her ability to get around outdoors.

Morton, who as lived with multiple sclerosis for 20 years, has relied on an electric cart to travel around town for the past 11 years. That wasn't a problem, until this winter.

On Feb. 21, Morton's trip into town was cut short because her electric cart got stuck on a sidewalk that she said was inadequately shoveled.

Such sidewalks have made it difficult for Morton to run errands and sometimes force her to use the road. She said she usually goes as far as Wal-Mart and Cooley Dickinson Hospital on her electric cart.

"I'm very strong-willed; I'll still go out. There's enough people out there that are willing to stop and help," Morton said.

Frigid weather, frequent plowing and job demands have made keeping up with shoveled difficult for some, Capt. Michael Wall of the Northampton Police Department said.

Wall said people have many reasons for not shoveling sidewalks, but usually comply when asked.

The department's goal is clear, passable sidewalks, Chief Russell Sienkiewicz said. He said the force tries to check sidewalks on main roads and to respond to complaints about unshoveled sidewalks.

The fine is $50 for unshoveled sidewalks, but Sienkiewicz said he doesn't recall anybody getting one.

© 2003 Daily Hampshire Gazette